Ron Morton; or, The Fire Ships
This is quite a difficult book to get the gist of. It is a tale of inheritance. A family inhabiting a castle in Shetland, a group of islands to the north of Scotland, is also apparently entitled to a title and lands in Spain and elsewhere. But who of the Shetland family is the rightful heir? The Spanish usurpers are well aware that the true heir is in Shetland, and their agent is a priest who appears several times in the book.
Apart from all this there is a background of seamanship and sailing vessels, for the time is just after the Napoleonic War with France. This of course is the setting in which Kingston excels as an author.
You will probably need a pencil and paper when you are working out who Ronald Morton really is, but the story is a fascinating one, and you will enjoy the task. It’s about fourteen hours as an audiobook.
Kingston, William Henry Giles (1814-1880), English novelist, son of Lucy Henry Kingston, was born in London on the 28th of February 1814. Much of his youth was spent at Oporto, where his father was a merchant, but when he entered the business, he made his headquarters in London. He early wrote newspaper articles on Portuguese subjects. These were translated into Portuguese, and the author received a Portuguese order of knighthood and a pension for his services in the conclusion of the commercial treaty of 1842.
In 1844 his first book, The Circassian Chief, appeared, and in 1845 The Prime Minister, a Story of the Days of the Great Marquis of Pombal. The Lusitanian Sketches describe Kingston’s travels in Portugal.
In 1851 Peter the Whaler, his first book for boys, came out. These books proved so popular that Kingston retired from business, and devoted himself to the production of tales of adventure for boys. Within thirty years he wrote upwards of one hundred and thirty such books. He had a practical knowledge of seamanship, and his stories of the sea, full of thrilling adventures and hairbreadth escapes, exactly hit the taste of his boy readers.
Characteristic specimens of his work are The Three Midshipmen; The Three Lieutenants; The Three Commanders; and The Three Admirals. He also wrote popular accounts of famous travellers by land and sea, and translated some of the stories of Jules Verne.
In all philanthropic schemes Kingston took deep interest; he was the promoter of the mission to seamen; and he acted as secretary of a society for promoting an improved system of emigration. He was editor of the Colonist for a short time in 1844 and of the Colonial Magazine and East Indian Review from 1849 to 1851. He was a supporter of the volunteer movement in England from the first.
He died at Willesden on the 5th of August 1880.
The above is substantially an extract from the 11th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
A PDF of scans and an HTML version of this book are provided. We also provide a plain TEXT version and full instructions for using this to make your own audiobook. To find these click on the PDF, HTML or TXT links on the left.
These transcriptions of books by various nineteenth century authors of instructive books for teenagers, were made during the period 1997 to the present day by Athelstane e-Books. Most of the books are concerned with the sea, but in any case all will give a good idea of life in the nineteenth century, and sometimes earlier than that. This of course includes attitudes prevalent at the time, but frowned upon nowadays.
We used a Hewlett-Packard scanner, a Plustek OpticBook 3600 scanner or a Nikkon Coolpix 5700 camera to scan the pages. We then made a pdf which we used to assist with editing the OCRed text.
To make a text version we used TextBridge Pro 98 or ABBYY Finereader 7 or 8 to produce a first draft of the text, and Athelstane software to find misreads and improve the text. We proof-read the chapters, and then made a CD with the book read aloud by either Fonix ISpeak or TextAloud MP3. The last step enables us to hear and correct most of the errors that may have been missed by the other steps, as well as entertaining us during the work of transcription.
The resulting text can be read either here at the Internet Archive or at www.athelstane.co.uk
The PDF version is constructed from 300 dpi scans. To get best value set "Use Logical Page Numbers" to "ON" in Edit/Preferences/Page Display of your PDF viewer. To obtain the HTML file find the area on the left of this page which has PDF, HTML and TXT in it, and click on HTML. In this version the entire book appears in the one file, which also includes the style-sheet and any pictures, and is written in xhtml. The larger of the two TXT files is what you need to create an audiobook, using for instance Text Aloud MP3. The smaller of the two TXT files contains full instructions for doing so.
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